Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blogs and Births: Shaken, But Not Stirred -Kerry

I gave birth to a book and a baby on the same day. I started writing that book, “Vineyard Memoirs”, when I was three months pregnant with the aforementioned baby, a girl, our third and last child. I have a picture of myself laying in the hospital bed in my blue and white flowered hospital gown about to start my inducement (my babies, like my books, never seem to come quickly or on time). I am cradling the fed-ex box filled with my manuscript with a loopy grip on my face.

Birthing both of these things on one day was a fine example of how I lived my life.

“What doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger,” said one wise, ancient Greek philosopher. Or, in my words, the words of a mother of three children in 2008, “what doesn’t destroy me still makes me exhausted.”

During the gestation of both the baby and the book, I often felt fatigued but determined. I doggedly decided that since I had not choice in delivering the baby, I could give myself no choice in delivering the book, too.

I hired a sixth-grader named Lauren to babysit while I wrote, while I could still sustain a thought that wasn’t clouded by seriously climbing estrogen levels. I figured the more I accomplished in the second trimester, the better. Lauren worked out for about a month, while I typed away she took the kids on fun picnics in the field down the street and played with them on the slip n’ slide. The downside came when my daughter told me, “Those guys that come to meet Lauren on our picnics are funny.” Enter writing plan B.

Plan B entailed shuttling the kids to my in-laws house, my parent’s house, and anyone I’d called a friend in the last twenty years. Surprisingly, the pregnancy exhaustion card played well in these situations, as I my ankles were truly starting to swell and I had to sit down, conveniently. Why not make it a writing session while I was resting with my feet up, doctors orders?

By the ninth month, I was having serious shortness of breath due to the fact that my waist and ribcage had merged into one giant belly. This made for interesting telephone interviews, during which I sounded like a wheezy chronic smoker or a 1-800 sex talk applicant.

Of course, this experience also made me elated, to have given birth to yet another beautiful, healthy child and finished a manuscript that had been twenty years in the making. I can’t think of another twenty-four hour period in my life, save the births of my other children, my wedding or graduation from college in which I felt such almost unbearable lightness. Except perhaps now, with the encouragement of the four talented writers in my writing group, as I give birth, so to speak, to my first blog, ever. Whew.


Julie Inada said...

Three successful births -- I do wish sometimes that there was an epidural for writing!

bluelikethesky said...

What a treat to read the posts from Kerry and Jennie. I hope to meet you both this summer.

Meanwhile, The Lithia Writers' Collective now has its very own link over on bluelikethesky.

P.S. to Julie: I don't think those are available in Ashland! Epidurals are far more common here in Texas. Perhaps I can find someone to shoot me up SOON!